BIRMINGHAM — Quarterback Jacob Zeno's efficiency was one of the highlights of UAB's first spring scrimmage under head coach Trent Dilfer.
The team scrimmaged for over two hours this past Saturday at Protective Stadium. Dilfer was asked about the scrimmage on Tuesday in his first meeting with the media since Saturday's scrimmage.
"There was a lot of good," Dilfer said. "You'll learn this about me, I'm always going to start with the good, and there was a lot of it. I thought the coaches did a tremendous job of preparing the players. I thought we were very organized. Our substitution was really good, our communication on the headsets was good. Defensively, we didn't give up a lot of big plays, which was important."
Dilfer continued with his assessment of the offense.
"Offensively, we were able to sustain drives, march the ball, finish drives off," Dilfer said. "Jacob Zeno was incredibly efficient, which we're looking for at the quarterback position. Our runners, no surprise, ran really hard. Up front, I thought our offensive line probably played better than they've even practiced, which is positive. A lot has been thrown on their plate. We're developing some real quality depth. So, a lot of good."
Dilfer was asked for details about Zeno's efficiency in the scrimmage.
"He made very good decisions. His eye placement was much better," Dilfer said. "His eyes and feet worked together. He was extremely accurate with the football, outside of one ball that slipped out of his hands. He got the ball out quick, which I think was important. He got it to our playmakers in space. He converted some big situations. He converted a 3rd-and-16, he converted a 3rd-and-10, converted multiple fourth down situations and walked off with a two-minute touchdown throw, getting all the way back to his fourth progression in the read."
Dilfer said much of Zeno's success came from the offensive line's protection.
"He was very efficient, now he'd be the first to tell you, he'd probably grade himself a C-plus," Dilfer said. "But, it was a pretty darn good C-plus. All of our quarterbacks were actually pretty efficient. Landry (Lyddy) will tell you he probably wasn't as safe with the football as he wanted to be. He didn't turn it over, but he was a little reckless. He did some really, really good things too. Our receivers made some big plays. The passing game is showing signs. Now, are we where we need to be? Not even close. But we're definitely showing signs."'
As expected, it wasn't all good during the scrimmage.
"The bad is, I think every coach is going to say this, we're not as clean as we need to be," Dilfer said. "There's still too many mistakes. Our fits aren't always right, still learning to play with a championship effort and energy. It's not bad effort and energy, but it's not championship level yet."
UAB will hold its Spring Game on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Protective Stadium.
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